(Oil trade routes running through the South China sea in which China is now creating a militarized zone. Map from EIA.org)
While America is trying to ween off Middle Eastern oil (still reliant at nearly 30% of consumption), the meat grinder has been activated between Iran and Saudi Arabia with associated militias, the energy wars will continue. Otherwise we should take the pain at the pump, five year collapse on global economies to completely remove our dependency on an antiquated energy source (oil) might just stave off world war three and reduce the climate change threat. In the Meantime, China is reasserting military power and militarizing the 5.3 trillion bilateral annual trade routes within the South China sea, it’s claims of regional dominance is close to an act of war. This is of course to squeeze Japan, which are net importers of oil from the Middle East, as is China. Control the energy routes you become a global power, redirect the energy back into your country i.e China and you become an empire.
Stretching from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca chokepoint in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, the South China Sea is one of the most important energy trade routes in the world. Almost a third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between African and Persian Gulf suppliers and Asian consumers. The strait is a critical transit chokepoint and has become increasingly important over the last two decades. In 1993, about 7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and petroleum products (20% of world seaborne oil trade) passed through the Strait of Malacca, according to the Center for Naval Analysis. EIA estimates that by the end of 2011, trade through Malacca was greater than 15 million bbl/d, or about one-third of all seaborne oil. In comparison, the world’s most important chokepoint for maritime transit, the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, had an oil flow of about 17 million bbl/d in 2011 (see World Oil Transit Chokepoints). Average daily oil consumption worldwide in 2011 was about 88.3 million bbl/d.
A significant amount of crude oil arriving in the Strait of Malacca (1.4 million bbl/d) goes to terminals in Singapore and Malaysia instead of continuing on to the South China Sea. After processing, this crude oil is shipped out again to Asian markets through the South China Sea as refined petroleum products, such as motor gasoline and jet fuel. The rest of the crude oil passes through the South China Sea to China and Japan, the two largest energy consumers in Asia.”